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Thread: Voigtlander 50/1.1 is in the house

  1. #1
    Ranger 9
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    Voigtlander 50/1.1 is in the house

    Mine came in the mail today from Stephen G.

    Naturally, my top priority for it is to round up something -- or better yet, someone -- to use as a test subject, and get an idea of how its images look.

    Meanwhile, though, I snapped some quick and nasty size-comparison pics in case anyone is interested in how it looks on a Lumix body.

    Left to right, or top to bottom depending on your window width: Canon 50mm f/0.95; Voigtlander 50mm f/1.1; Voigtlander 50mm f/1.5.



    The thinner barrel of the Voigtlander vs. the Canon should especially be a plus on the Lumix; the Canon is so fat that I can barely get my fingers between the barrel and the grip! (Not a problem for you Eepy One users, of course...)

    Naturally the 50/1.5 is slimmer yet, but the size difference between it and the 1.1 seems like a small price to pay for a full stop of maximum aperture. Of course, that assumes the performance is there -- I've found the 50/1.5 to be rather spectacular on the Lumix, and I just hope the 50/1.1 can come close!

    Now to go find some pictures to take...!

  2. #2
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    Vivek's Avatar
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    Re: Voigtlander 50/1.1 is in the house

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 9 View Post
    Now to go find some pictures to take...!
    Let me know where you find "them".

    Post lots of pics taken with the 50/1.1.

    (FWIW, though very fat, the 50/0.95 handles quite well on the G1 for me, especially for waist level shooting).

  3. #3
    Senior Member m3photo's Avatar
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    Talking Re: Voigtlander 50/1.5

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 9 View Post
    -- I've found the 50/1.5 to be rather spectacular on the Lumix, ...
    I certainly agree on that. It was the first lens I bought for the G1 (after the kit lens that came with it, of course) and it's a very good match. Now the EP-1 is available I think that with the 17mm and my silver 50/1.5 Nokton it will be a perfect combo. All I need now is the cash to buy the Olympus. (Big grin)
    Last edited by m3photo; 7th July 2009 at 08:36. Reason: Smilie in the wrong place

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    Re: Voigtlander 50/1.1 is in the house

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger 9 View Post
    I've found the 50/1.5 to be rather spectacular on the Lumix, and I just hope the 50/1.1 can come close!
    Yes agreed on this too together with m3photo; It is a spectecular lens on the G1. As sharp as let's say a razorblade.

    I am very curious to see some examples with your new lens, especially in low light. Congrats with your purchase!~
    Michiel

  5. #5
    Senior Member apicius9's Avatar
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    Re: Voigtlander 50/1.1 is in the house

    I would love to see pictures taken with the new lens. I had been looking at it, thinking it sounds like the ultimate 50mm lens - and I find that this is probably my favorite length. But as a not very experienced amateur I feel I don't deserve one, yet, and the price also would hurt me even if it may be well worth it compared to other fast lenses. ...

    I had also thought about the CV50/1.5 before the new one came out, and I am wondering: I would have to buy the M-adapter and the lens - what would I gain that my Summicron R 50/2 can't do - and is it worth it (which probably only I can answer for myself). Don't want to hijack this thread but would love to hear comments, thanks.

    Stefan

  6. #6
    Ranger 9
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    Re: Voigtlander 50/1.1 is in the house

    I finally got a chance this evening to try out my Voigtlander 50/1.1, using my Panasonic G1 with M-mount adapter as the test vehicle.

    Normally the way I prefer to "test" a lens is to use it in the type of situation I actually photograph -- which in my case is dance performances and other such low-light stuff. No dance performances handy lately... but a couple of my dancer friends were getting married, in the theater where they had met dancing, so the conditions were at least somewhat similar!

    [Disclaimer: I am not a wedding photographer. I have no desire to be a wedding photographer. You wedding photographers out there may feel free to laugh at what unprofessional shots I took of the event!]

    One drawback of this style of lens "testing" is that I was introducing a lot of factors that tend to make a lens look worse than it is. For example, I had to start at ISO 800 and then bump up to ISO 1250 as the evening went on. Also, I was hand-holding everything -- some of the pictures in this set were at speeds as low as 1/25 -- so there will be some degree of "unsharpness" that are really the fault of camera shake.

    What I really want to do at some point is some more controlled comparison shots that will let me evaluate the "look" of the 50/1.1 vs. the other two 50mm lenses I routinely use -- the Voigtlander 50/1.5 Nokton and the Canon 50/0.95. I didn't want to lug all three lenses to a wedding, so all I can do here is a "virtual" comparison. But enough temporizing, I'm sure you want to see pictures...

    Not with the 50/1.1:

    I don't believe in lens test charts, especially, but I do look at eyelashes. Here's a photo I made the other day with the G1 at ISO 1250, using the 50/1.5 Nokton at full aperture. I'm pleased with the sharpness of the eyelashes in this photo, so will be using that as my standard for comparison against the 50/1.1.


    And now here's a 100% crop:





    With that established, let's move on to the wedding and the new lens. All the following were made with the 50/1.1:

    A nice trio of bridesmaids --

    My focus point was on the center bridesmaid's bouquet. Looking at a crop of that, I think I'll be able to expect some of the same "glow" I get with the 50/0.95, although smaller and better-controlled:


    I did notice that manual focus (via the G1's EVF) didn't seem quite as crisp and decisive as it is with the 50/1.5. I think the slight "glow" has something to do with it. With an f/1.1 lens at full aperture, the vast majority of any scene is going to be out of focus, and all that defocused light has to go somewhere; some of it is bound to leak into the in-focus image and reduce its local contrast, so the lens doesn't "snap in" to focus the way the f/1.5 does. Still, I didn't actually have any trouble focusing, although I needed to use the G1's center-focus magnifier more often than I do when shooting with the 50/1.5.



    The reception was in the theater lobby, with the wedding party on the main floor and the rest of us up on the mezzanine. Being on the mezzanine was fun because we could look down on the activity and see everything that went on; here's Kristen, one of the bride's friends, doing just that:


    I'm no "bokehologist," but the background looks pretty smooth. Note, though, that the out-of-focus lights behind Kristen's shoulder appear to have some "edges" in them; that doesn't bother me, but if it bothers you...

    This photo wasn't much good for an "eyelash test" because I was shooting at 1/25... still, here they are:




    Here are my friend Deborah and her husband Rob listening to conversation at our table:


    Again on the bokeh front, Rob's out-of-focus features nearer the camera seem very smooth. Note the bright background behind Deborah, caused by some wildly-overexposed bare lamps on the wall. I would expect these to flare out somewhat if using the 50/0.95 Canon, but the 50/1.1 seems to control them well:





    The bride's sisters got a bit teary-eyed during the maid of honor's speech about her -- rather sweet, really, but why I put it here is the white lightbulbs in the background. The Canon 50/0.95 often produces exotic flare spots when bright light sources are within the picture, but I didn't see any from the 50/1.1 Nokton. The girls' black dresses seem to retain good depth. You'll notice some purple edges around the bulbs nearest the bride and her sisters; I interpret this as "sensor bloom" caused by severe overexposure, rather than lens-induced color fringing.



    I had planned to carry on from here, but found there's a 10-image limit per post! So, on to another entry...
    Last edited by Ranger 9; 12th July 2009 at 00:00.

  7. #7
    Ranger 9
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    Re: Voigtlander 50/1.1 is in the house

    Now the rest of my wedding photos:


    Here's Carrie, the beautiful bride, with my friend Cheryl, who was Carrie's first ballet teacher:


    And here's the detail crop. This was at ISO 1250 and f/1.1. I'm pleased with the eyelash detail, although it looks as if there's just a hint of "highlight glow" that suppresses the skin texture a bit --


    Another photo of the lovely Carrie:


    And another detail crop; to me, these eyelashes look almost as crisp as the 50/1.5 Nokton versions that led off the sequence, even though these were shot at a full stop wider aperture:


    Another GetDPI'er had PMed me earlier this week wondering about color fringing, aka "chromatic aberration"; this user also had just received a 50/1.1 and seemed to be noticing quite a bit of it in early tests.

    I figured that if it were going to show up, it might be in details such as this crop of the stud in Carrie's ear; chroma noise might be masking it (ISO 1250, remember) but I don't see enough to worry me:


    So, based on my initial experience, I'd say the Voigtlander 50/1.1 looks very promising. It doesn't have the unique "character" of the Canon 50/0.95, but it doesn't have its quirks and foibles, either. It does seem to retain a much milder version of the Canon's "highlight glow." That means it's not as sensationally crisp as the 50/1.5 Nokton, but it does deliver similar fine detail in eyelashes and such, at a full stop faster aperture.

    Now I really want to do a more controlled, side-by-side comparison with my other two 50s, but that's a job for another day and a more predictable subject situation...


    Incidentally, if it makes any difference, I shot all these pictures in raw format. But rather than running them through Lightroom as I usually do, I converted these to JPEG with Silkypix on the theory that using the Panasonic-supplied software would get the most out of the G1. I'm not sure it was worth the extra bother, but now you know I tried!
    Last edited by Ranger 9; 12th July 2009 at 00:04.

  8. #8
    Ranger 9
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    Re: Voigtlander 50/1.1 is in the house

    Quote Originally Posted by apicius9 View Post
    I had also thought about the CV50/1.5 before the new one came out, and I am wondering: I would have to buy the M-adapter and the lens - what would I gain that my Summicron R 50/2 can't do - and is it worth it (which probably only I can answer for myself). Don't want to hijack this thread but would love to hear comments, thanks.
    If you often shoot pictures with your Summicron at maximum aperture and find yourself wishing you could open it up even more, then yes, you'd gain something by going to the CV50/1.5.

    It's almost a full stop faster than your Summicron, so in situations where you now shoot at 1/15 you'd be able to shoot at 1/30 and so forth.

    However, if you usually use your current lens stopped down somewhat, then there'd be no advantage to going to one with a wider maximum aperture. It's more difficult to make a good faster lens than a good slower lens, so your current one might be better at moderate apertures.

    Although the 50/1.1 seems very promising in my initial tests, it doesn't seem to have quite the same crispness as the 50/1.5 -- so it would have no advantage for you at all unless you very often shoot photos under poor light conditions.

    I shoot a lot of contemporary dance performances, which often have very dim lighting AND require high shutter speeds, so I need the widest maximum aperture I can get, even if it means using a lens that isn't quite as sharp as others when used at more moderate apertures. If you don't find yourself in that type of situation often, there's no advantage for you.

    Again, an ultra-wide-aperture lens demands more design compromises than a more conventional design, so you pay much more for a lens that may perform less well at moderate apertures -- and is larger, heavier, and more expensive besides.

  9. #9
    elf
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    Re: Voigtlander 50/1.1 is in the house

    How does it compare to other f/2.0 lens at f/2.0 or at f/4? I'm curious how it would work for macros between 1X and 5X where diffraction doesn't allow small apertures.

  10. #10
    Ranger 9
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    Re: Voigtlander 50/1.1 is in the house

    Quote Originally Posted by elf View Post
    How does it compare to other f/2.0 lens at f/2.0 or at f/4? I'm curious how it would work for macros between 1X and 5X where diffraction doesn't allow small apertures.
    I don't know -- all I've done so far was to try to shoot it at f/1.1 and normal distances!

    My guess is that it would be sub-optimal in the macro range, simply because ultra-wide-aperture lenses usually are -- unless designed for that, as with the C-mount Macro Switars used for some of the photos in this thread.

  11. #11
    OzRay
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    Re: Voigtlander 50/1.1 is in the house

    Here's a shot of one of our hounds taken with the Pen and Nokton 50mm f1.1, and FL-36 flash (I think it was taken at about f2.8):



    and a 100% crop:



    These were basically straight out of the camera, though I shot RAW+JPG. What I really like about the flash combo with manual lenses, is that I'm getting better exposures, and more flexibility to stop down, than with the Olympus lenses.

    Cheers

    Ray

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